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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Review Recipe
a close up shot of a Caramel Apple Cupcake on a stand
Brimming with fall flavors from fresh apples to caramel topping, these caramel apple cupcakes will delight the senses.
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Table of Contents
  1. Caramel Apple Cupcakes Ingredients
  2. Substitutions and Additions
  3. How to Make This Caramel Apple Cupcakes Recipe
  4. How To Serve
  5. Storage
  6. More Recipes You’ll Love
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE
  8. More Easy Dessert Recipes

These delicious caramel apple cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate fall. The mix of sweet and tart is irresistible, with moist and fluffy spiced apple cupcakes topped with a spiced cream cheese frosting, caramel drizzle, and a crisp apple slice. 

a close up shot of a Caramel Apple Cupcake on a stand with a bite taken out of it

Caramel Apple Cupcakes Ingredients

Caramel Apple Cupcakes raw ingredients that are labeled

Caramel apple cupcakes have a delectable blend of tart apples, warm cinnamon spice, and luscious caramel. The tartness of the apple creates a pleasant contrast to the sweet, buttery cake, cream cheese frosting, and caramel drizzle.

To make these delectable cupcakes, you’ll need:

For the Cupcakes

  • 15.25-ounce boxed spice cake mix (Betty Crocker Super Moist brand)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded Gala apple (peeled then shredded)

For the Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Optional Garnish

  • Caramel sauce (Hershey’s Sundae Dream Caramel Syrup in a squeeze bottle) 
  • Thin slices of Gala apple 

Substitutions and Additions

SPICES: You can substitute an apple pie spice blend for the cinnamon in the cream cheese frosting for these caramel apple cupcakes with cake mix.

BUTTER: You can substitute unsalted butter that has been melted and cooled for the canola oil in the cake. You can also use vegetable or grapeseed oil. Any neutral oil will work. You do not want to use olive or coconut oil as those flavors are too strong for this recipe.

How to Make This Caramel Apple Cupcakes Recipe

Thanks to the boxed cake mix that we start with, these cupcakes are super easy to make. Once the cake mix is made, pieces of shredded apple are added for an extra moist cake.

Once baked, we will top these cupcakes with a creamy frosting, caramel drizzle, and a crisp apple slice.

Let’s get started making this yummy treat:

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin pans with paper cupcake liners. Set aside.

STEP TWO: In a large bowl, add the packet of spice cake mix, whole milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed using a handheld electric mixer for 2 minutes.

STEP THREE: Fold the shredded Gala apple pieces into the cupcake batter until all the shredded apples are evenly distributed.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

The best way to shred the Gala apples is to peel them and then grate them on the large grate side of a box grater. Be careful not to go as deep as the core of the apple. You only want to grate the flesh from each side of the apple.

shredded apples folded and placed into the batter in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Divide the cake batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cupcakes at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

batter divided between cupcake liners

STEP FIVE: Allow the apple cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack on the counter to cool completely.

STEP SIX: While your cupcakes are baking, you can make your spiced cream cheese frosting by beating together on medium-high speed with a hand mixer, softened cream cheese, and unsalted butter. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.

cream cheese and butter blended in a bowl

STEP SEVEN: Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until incorporated.

STEP EIGHT: Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, to the cream cheese mixture and beat until fully incorporated.

powdered sugar added to the cream cheese mixture in a bowl

STEP NINE: Lastly, add the heavy cream to the spiced cream cheese mixture and beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until the frosting is smooth and thick.

cream blended in a bowl for 1-2 minutes

STEP TEN: Transfer the spiced cream cheese frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a decorative piping tip, and store in the refrigerator to firm up until you are ready to frost your cupcakes. The frosting needs a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge to be firm enough to hold its shape when piped.

PRO TIP:

Cream cheese frosting keeps very well in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When ready to use, allow it to sit at room temperature to soften. Once softened, add it to a large mixing bowl and beat it on medium speed for a minute or two to get it back to a pipeable consistency.

frosting piped onto the cupcake

STEP ELEVEN: Pipe the frosting onto the top of each cupcake.

STEP TWELVE: Garnish the frosted cupcakes with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a thin slice of Gala apple.

PRO TIP:

These caramel apple pie cupcakes should be served immediately after frosting and garnishing.

caramel drizzled and apple slice garnished on top of the cupcake

How To Serve

To pair with these tasty treats, try a classic vanilla ice cream spiced up with a bit of cinnamon, adding an extra layer of flavor that pairs well with the caramel and sweet apples. Add a warm mug of spiced apple cider for extra coziness.

These delicious cupcakes would make the perfect Thanksgiving dessert. Offer them along with our pumpkin spice cheesecake bites and apple crisp to immerse yourself in all of the fantastic flavors fall has to offer.

If you have an abundance of apples from the orchard, we have plenty of apple recipes for you to try. Our apple fritter rings and apple pie bites are both loaded with flavor.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store these easy apple cupcakes without the garnish in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

IN THE FREEZER: For longer storage, you can freeze the baked cupcakes (without frosting) in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Label your container with contents and the best-used-by date.

Thaw the cupcakes in the refrigerator overnight before adding the cream cheese frosting, caramel drizzle, and apple slices. 

overhead shot of Caramel Apple Cupcakes on a cooling rack

These moist caramel apple cupcakes are overflowing with spices and apple flavor. The spice cake base brings plenty of cozy warmth to the cupcakes, and the velvety cream cheese frosting and caramel drizzle finish these treats perfectly.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze these apple caramel cupcakes?

These moist apple cupcakes can be stored in the freezer for up to two months in a sealed container. Wait to frost and garnish until you are ready to serve them.

Can I use store-bought caramel sauce?

You can use either store-bought or homemade caramel sauce to drizzle on top of these cupcakes.

Can I use store-bought frosting for this caramel apple cupcake recipe?

If you want to save time, you can use store-bought frosting. If you want to keep the spiced flavor, add cinnamon to your frosting before topping your moist cupcakes.

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a close up shot of a Caramel Apple Cupcake on a stand

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

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Brimming with fall flavors from fresh apples to caramel topping, these caramel apple cupcakes will delight the senses.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 24

Ingredients
  

Cupcakes

  • 15.25 ounces spice cake mix, Betty Crocker Super Moist brand
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded Gala apple, peeled then shredded

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Optional Garnish

  • Caramel sauce, Hershey’s Sundae Dream Caramel Syrup in a squeeze bottle
  • Thin slices of Gala apple

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the packet of spice cake mix, whole milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed using a handheld mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Fold the shredded Gala apple into the cupcake batter until all the shredded apples are evenly distributed.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the apple cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack on the counter to cool completely.
  • While your cupcakes are baking, you can make your spiced cream cheese frosting by beating together on medium-high speed with a handheld mixer, the softened cream cheese, and unsalted butter. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until incorporated.
  • Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, to the cream cheese mixture and beat until fully incorporated.
  • Lastly, add the heavy cream to the spiced cream cheese mixture and beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until the frosting is smooth and thick.
  • Transfer the spiced cream cheese frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a decorative piping tip, and store in the refrigerator to firm up until you are ready to frost your cupcakes. The frosting needs a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes in the refrigerator to be firm enough to hold its shape when piped.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
  • Garnish the frosted cupcakes with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a thin slice of Gala apple.

Notes

  • The best way to shred the Gala apples is to peel them and then grate them on the large grate side of a box grater. Be careful not to go as deep as the core of the apple. You only want to grate the flesh from each side of the apple.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cupcakes at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • Cream cheese frosting keeps very well in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When ready to use, allow it to sit at room temperature to soften. Once softened, add it to a large mixing bowl and beat it on medium speed for a minute or two to get it back to a pipeable consistency.
  • These caramel apple pie cupcakes should be served immediately after frosting and garnishing.

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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